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The Gig: Darn That Stream

To be there or not to be there

Charles Lloyd at North Sea Jazz 2011

A heavy sense of consecration filled the Sackler Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art one mid-March evening, during a 75th-birthday celebration for Charles Lloyd. Onstage with his totemic accoutrements-tenor saxophone, sunglasses, beret-Lloyd faced the carved-sandstone gates of the Temple of Dendur, around which an audience of hundreds had been seated. He was flanked by the members of his working quartet, poised to pounce on the subtlest of cues. The spirit in the room was calm but intense, registering clearly even miles away, on the screen of my MacBook Air.

That’s right: Technically speaking, in a physical sense, I wasn’t among those in attendance for Lloyd’s momentous performance. Family obligations and deadline pressures had kept me from venturing out that evening, so there I was in my living room, watching a live stream of the concert on the Met’s website. In an attempt to soften the compromise, I’d routed the laptop through my stereo system and set the high-definition video to fullscreen mode. I sat quietly engrossed as Lloyd opened the concert in gospel duologue with pianist Jason Moran. To my relief, I didn’t feel as if I were watching from much of a remove at all.

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Originally Published